By Ahmed Njuuki
The Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda has said farmers will earn more money from coffee growing, courtesy of the new civil society project targeting coffee value chains.
“Fair for All project targets all coffee value chain actors to the end that they benefit from their activities. Coffee production is critical especially in the post COVID 19 economic recovery. Coffee as a cash crop has potential to get people out of poverty,” said Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director for SEATINI Uganda.
She was speaking during the launch of the project in Mubende.
Nalunga said that non-adherence to standards had seen farmers get meagre proceeds from selling coffee but said the new project will support civil society to influence sub-national, national and international policies, laws and norms, that safeguard the rights of small-scale coffee producers and communities in the coffee trade and value-chains.
Through the Fair for All project, we intend to create a platform for various actors across the value chain. In the long term, we will work towards ensuring that farmers’ voices are reflected in the government’s policies, laws and plans.”
According to Titus Ssemakula, a farmer from Mubende, coffee has for many years been their cash cow but noted they are optimistic the new project can see more yields.
“Farmers need good quality seeds that can guarantee high yield and productivity. Lack of a minimum price for our coffee has affected us so much but to solve this, we formed farmers groups that not only mobilize and organize farmers but also help us to market and sell our coffee out of Uganda at a favorable price. We are hopeful this project will come in handy,”Ssemakula noted.
Fred Kisakye, the head of production at Mubende district could not agree more.
“The coffee enterprise has alot of opportunities along the entire value chain. We have processers, we have seedling producers and marketers but all these have not been coordinated, some are cheating others and the most cheated are the farmers. The farmers don’t know about the quality requirements in the market. When we get advocates like SEATINI Uganda that help to sensitize farmers about their rights and their roles along the value chain, this is very important because the farmers will be able to improve on quality of coffee and thereafter get better markets and better prices. This is indeed a welcome venture,”Kisakye said.
The Mubende district Vice Chairperson, Kellen Besigye said the district leadership is ready to support the implementation of the project.
“We are optimistic that farmers will benefit from this project and as the Mubende district leadership, we pledge full commitment towards supporting this project so that farmers can benefit from it,” she said.